Not necessarily Peter,
A civilized person could morph into a sociopathic killer. Jack the
Ripper or any number of decivilized monsters who are not savages.
So-called Savages have their own moral codes and taboos, often very
Sent from my iPod
On May 25, 2010, at 7:28 AM, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
> To be de-civilised is not to be uncivilised.
> To be de-civilised is not to be a savage.
> It is to have no identity at all. A hollow man.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, May 24, 2010 6:22 AM
> Subject: Re: Mr. Eugenides
>> Peter Montgomery wrote:
>>> Eliot was a big fan of THE HEART OF DARKNESS.
>>> Is Kurtz de-civilised?
>> No! To be civilized is to be aware of oneself as related to The City.
>> Kurtz's life would be unintelligible within a paleolithic or even
>> neolithic culture. And while K's attitude towards the "natives"
>> the Eurocentric use of "savage," his attitude towareds hmself, let
>> the attitude of (a) the fictional narrator and (b) the story as a
>> is biguous. Tos label Kurtz as "uncivilzied" is to justify Europe:
>> It is
>> not Europe that is committing genocide n the Congo but those
>> savages who
>> have infected Kurtz with their savagery which then has rebounded on
>> Now it may be that Eliot (the man) or Eliot (the poet of TWL) himself
>> thought in these terms, of Kurtz or the woman in the narrow canoe as
>> "decivilzied." Assuming that would add quite an interesting edge to
>> poem but it would make Eliot the man worthy of the greatest contempt.
>> (Ditto re Conrad.)
>> "The horror. The Horror" Kurtz muttrs -- and perhaps that horror is
>> analyzed in the history of such words as "pagan," "civilization,"
>> "savage," "urbane," and other terms in which is embodied the
>> valorization of The City (- Europe in the 196h c.) and "The
>> Country" (=
>> the rest of the world in the 19th-c). (My expositon here is jumbled
>> since I'm explorginga what for me is new angle from which to look
>> at the
>> consciousness arising from the savage (!) rampage of Europe across
>> world in the last 3 centuriesd. It is too bad Empson did not
>> include a
>> chapter on "savage" in his _Structure of *Complex Words_, for quite a
>> bit of (terrifying) history is packed into the 'equations' as Empson
>> called them which structure this term.
>> Carrying this (even in its rough state here) back to TWL, we may
>> see a
>> sort of (unintended) savage (!) irony in that phrase which ends the
>> I'll stop here for now.
>>> Mr. Civilisation, he dead!
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Carrol Cox" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Sunday, May 23, 2010 7:19 AM
>>> Subject: Re: Mr. Eugenides
>>>> Diana Manister wrote:
>>>>> Yes dehumanized. De-civilized too, if you will,
>>>> "decivilized" (which is also not Eliot's word) is an even more
>>>> inappropriate metaphor than dehumanized. The behavior of the
>>>> clerk is
>>>> only possible within civilization! For one thing, even in a
>>>> pre-capitalist class societies she would not have been living
>>>> alone or
>>>> preparing her own meal. Those tins involved international commerce.
>>>> Moreover, the entire episode presupposes the atomized social
>>>> which appeared embryonically in the 175th-c (and Milton with
>>>> prescience grasped) and only fully (and only in England & the
>>>> U.S.) in
>>>> the 19th-c. They were only beginning to develop in France & Germany
>>>> this enters into the causes of WW1).
>>>> So whatever the young man and woman are or are not, they are highly
>>>> civilized -- and surely Eliot had enough of an historical sense and
>>>> precise enough in his language (even the silent language of thought
>>>> intention) that he would never have seen these characters as
>>>> de-ciivilized. These vague, sloppy categories introduced by readers
>>>> rather than the poem trivialize the whole poem.